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Full text of "The Letters Of Horace Walpole Vol I"

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1742]
To Horace Mann
259
and so took up every -woman they met, till they had collected five or six-and-twenty, all whom they thrust into St. Martin's Round-House, where they kept them all night, with doors and windows closed. The poor creatures, who could not stir or breathe, screamed as long as they had any breath left, begging at least for water: one poor wretch said she was worth eighteen-pence, and would gladly give it for a draught of water, but in vain! So well did they keep them there, that in the morning four were found stifled to death, two died soon after, and a dozen more are in a shocking way. In short, it is horrid to think what the poor creatures suffered: several of them were beggars, who, from having no lodging, were necessarily found in the street, and others honest labouring women. One of the dead was a poor washerwoman, big with child, who was returning home late from, washing. One of the constables is taken, and others absconded ; but I question5 if any of them will suffer death, though the greatest criminals in this town are the officers of justice j there is no tyranny they do not exercise, no villany of wjiich they do not partake. These same men, the same night, broke into a bagnio in Covent Garden, and took up Jack Spencer6, Mr. Stewart, and Lord George Graham7, and would have thrust them into the Round-House with the poor women, if they had not been worth more than eighteen-pence!
I*have just now received yours of the 15th of July, with
5 The Keeper of the Round-House was tried, but acquitted of wilful murder. Walpole.—His name was William Bird. He was condemned to death., but reprieved for transportation. (See Gent. Mag., 1742, pp. 545, 601).
8 Hon. John Spencer (1708-1746), fourth son of third Earl of Sunder-land, by his second wife, Anne Churchill, second daughter and coheir of John Churchill, Duke of
Marlborough. He was the favourite of his grandmother, Sarah Jennings, Duchess of Marlborough, who left him a vast fortune (in. preference to his elder brother, the Duke of Marlborough), on condition that neither he nor his heirs should accept any place or pension from government.
7 Fourth son of first Duke of Montrose; Captain in the Navy; d. 1747.
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